By Stephen Lendman
Global Research, March 16, 2017
Today’s thermonuclear weapons are monstrously more powerful than the 15 kiloton Little Boy and 21 Kiloton Fat Man nukes used to destroy Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
An article by nuclear experts Hans Kristensen and Matthew McKinsie, together with ballistic missiles expert Theodore Postol explained the enhanced power of US submarine-launched ballistic missiles “with more than three times the number of warheads needed to destroy the entire fleet of Russian land-based missiles in their silos.”
Super-fuzing makes these weapons super-powerful, the authors saying “even the most accurate ballistic missile warheads might not detonate close enough to targets hardened against nuclear attack to destroy them.”
Super-fuzing lets them destroy them “by detonating above and around” them instead of too far away to be effective.
The technology lets nuclear armed US submarines be hugely more lethal than years earlier. They’re all equipped with super-fuzed warheads.
Increased US nuclear strike capability “has serious implications for strategic stability and perceptions of US nuclear strategy and intentions,” the authors explained.
Russia understands it gives Washington a more feasible first-strike capability, forcing it to take appropriate countermeasures.
Super-fuzing “kill capability” poses a greater risk that nuclear weapons by either country could be used in response to a feared attack, even when one hasn’t occurred, certainly not by Russia preemptively, in self-defense only.
America can monitor missile launches from space. Russia’s early warning radar is ground-based, giving it 15 minutes warning time compared to Washington’s 30 minutes – “creat(ing) a deeply destabilizing and dangerous strategic nuclear situation,” the authors stressed.
With US hostility toward Russia unchanged under Trump, the danger of nuclear war is as great as any time during the Cold War.
Super-fuzed warheads triple their lethality. It lets US submarines perform “a wider range of missions than was the case before” super-fuzing.
It’s officially called the arming, fuzing and firing (AF&F) system. It’s a potential doomsday weapon if enough of them are detonated.
America has enough of these weapons to destroy Russia’s silo-based ICBMs and have many remaining for other missions, including Russia’s non-hardened mobile nuclear capability – devastating, if launched, with potentially catastrophic consequences far beyond Russia.
America vastly enhanced the killing power of its nuclear arsenal, with greater first-strike capability than Russia, leaving it dangerously vulnerable.
“We cannot foresee a situation in which a competent and properly informed US president would order a surprise first strike against Russia or China,” the authors explained.
But our conclusion makes the increased sea-based offensive and defensive capabilities we have described seem all the more bizarre as a strategy for reducing the chances of nuclear war with either Russia or China.
Putin’s remarks to journalists last June at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum indicate how he weighs the danger of America’s threat to Russia, saying:
No matter what we said to our American partners (to curb the arms race), they refused to cooperate with us. They rejected our offers, and continue to do their own thing.
… They rejected everything we had to offer…The Iranian threat does not exist, but missile defense systems are continuing to be positioned…
That means we were right when we said that they are lying to us.
Their reasons were not genuine, in reference to the ‘Iranian nuclear threat.’
(People in Western nations) do not feel a sense of the impending danger. This is what worries me.
A missile defense system is one element of the whole system of offensive military potential.
It works as part of a whole that includes offensive missile launchers.
One complex blocks, the other launches high precision weapons. The third blocks a potential nuclear strike, and the fourth sends out its own nuclear weapon in response.
This is all designed to be part of one system. I don’t know how this is all going to end.
What I do know is that we will need to defend ourselves.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.